Thursday, July 31, 2008

Composer Slash Sound Engineer


photo by leo patrone

Micah Dahl will bite you. Don't worry friend, it's a good thing. Micah is a Musical Vampire charged with the duty to bring delicate sospriando lacrimosos and triumphant grandiosos to children who show musical promise. Do you not understand some of those words? Then be afraid friend, because Micah will bite you, only, for his personal nourishment now.

Born in the early 1400's, Micah made a name for himself by being able to play any musical instrument set in his hands. This gained the attention of a local Renaissance band which extended an invitation for him to join up. The bands front man, Vlad the Impaler quickly became envious of Micah's musical abilities. Amongst their fans, there was hot debate over who was the better musician, Micah, or Vlad, causing a rift that eventually led to the break up of the group. Years later, through cruelty and cunning, Vlad had become emperor of Romania and invited Micah's new band to play at the castle for his coronation in an attempt to put an end to the quarrel. However, Micah's musical talent had magnified ten fold since the break up, and upon hearing the tunes ringing forth from Micah's Lute, Vlad became enraged in jealousy and pounced on Micah, biting ferociously at his neck. In self defense, Micah snatched up a wooden hammer used to play the dulcimer and plunged the handle deep into Vlad's heart...but the damage had already been done. Secret to all was that Vlad was the very first Dracula, and unknowingly, Micah had taken up the mantle from the bite he suffered.

Centuries later, Micah still makes music, and charges only a tiny bite on the neck. He has recently learned that Vlad has made a return to our world as this man. That's right, Yanni. Yanni's hit song "Nostalgia" is a call out to Micah, challenging him to a fight to the death. Though both Micah and Vlad still live, and have endured many battles with one another, neither one is willing to give up claim to the throne of world's most musical vampire. Here at Children Kids, our vote is for Micah, and not just because he's holding my nephew, sniffing at his neck at the moment.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

more classic Sesame Street jams


just a few years earlier and I could have grown up with that Stevie instead of this one (they do show off some cutting edge videography and editing there, though…)

ps, though: please check out that little girl rocking out in the background of the video above (approx. 5:20).

The Animator


photo by leo patrone

BERK is a robot.
Why a robot?
Don't ask us such stupid questions or we'll send our robot after you. Our animating robot to be specific. Designed to animate at super human speed, the BERK unit is a perfect fit here at Children Kids. Powered by otter pops, impervious to tedious suggestions, and rust, BERK can work for hours on end without sleep, or positive reinforcement.
But that kind of technology doesn't exist now, does it?
Shut your face you! Of course technology like that isn't around yet. The BERK unit was sent back in time, three months from now, to help us on our quest to make a cartoon. It was the clever plan of our art director Cole. In February of this year he sent a check to a robotics company in ST. George, Utah, with instructions to mail back to our time a robot as soon as they had one that met our specifications. We wanted a rock-climbing, animating, golden-locks havin' robot, and that's exactly what we got.
Three months from the future?
Yes, you're mind would be blown if you knew what was just round the corner. BERK has told us many frightening things about not good stuff that is bad.
Could you be more specific?
While getting his Animating and Super-Awesome chips installed at The University of Utah, BERK worked for an airline, loading and unloading planes so he could get the discounted flights. He traveled the world snorkeling, and scuba-ing and was witness to something horrible.
What man, for the love of all that is good! What happens?
Gasoline.......over 4$ a gallon! Duhn duhn duhn!
But gas is over that now. And if he was from three months into the future, and you received him last February, doesn't that mean the future he came from was last May?
Berk is a crazy man that dresses in a robot costume, and works for otter pops, there, are you happy now? That's all we can afford.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

About the Art Director


photo by leo patrone.

Cole is, and always has been, but mostly never was. Born the 27th letter of the English alphabet (a vowel), he was orphaned at an early age when the entire human race developed a speech impediment that could not pronounce him without going into seizure. With no need for him his family put him into exile, but not without prophecy. It was foretold that he would remain in exile until a half-Korean muse would rise up and resurrect the unspoken vowel, utter his sound to wake him, and return him to his rightful place. That day did come, however, upon opening his eyes for the first time in centuries, he fell in love with the muse, and passed on his birthright, forsaking his place between "P" and "Q". The two married and he began to learn the ways of the human.

First on his list, get a favorite sports team like most human males. Not knowing any better, Cole chose to love the Seattle Supersonics, which proved to be a one-sided relationship as the team continually broke his heart year in, year out. In further attempts to humanize himself, he enrolled at BYU where he quickly set himself apart as one of the premiere designer slash art directors in the program. Cole's eye for detail, and uncanny ability to bring many different forms of art together in harmony, have won him several awards in his early career. Most recently he was awarded "The Pencil", handed out at "The One Show" in "New York City". Though the award, show, and place all sounded made up, we gladly welcomed him to the team. Cole's visually unique style at Children Kids acts as it's own character, enticing the dormant parts of the mind to the forefront, where it pounces, overloading the imagination to the point of implosion, sending the viewer on scary fun house hallucination....but in a good way.

Most nights Cole can be seen running wild and scantily clad in the woods with his raucous brothers "Z" and "R", the three of them devouring organic fruit roll-ups and designing new fonts.

Monday, July 28, 2008

A few thoughts on The Con


San Diego Comic Con.

I have decided that the con is all about self-esteem. This is an opportunity for nerds across the globe to unite and be in the midst of like minds and tastes. The one time when it is completely acceptable and respected to don tights and spandex- where the best bodies of a comic book, video game, anime and soft drink exercise and diet program can display their pale cellulite wares- on this weekend only they reign as gods and goddesses. Perhaps for me this is the weekend that I can assure myself and say “well whatever happens to me I don’t think I’ll ever be as lame as those guys.” They are probably thinking right back “Oh look at that kid without a costume and so few friends—I’m glad I’ll never be as lame as he is.” It is truly a symbiotic relationship.

I got my favorite comic book artist Mike Mignola to sign and draw in my sketchbook. One should never meet their heroes. Mike was a salty pale guy who was obviously very weary of his notebook signing responsibility. Mike wrote and drew Hellboy, who is this really tough badass character that is funnily irreverent—I guess I hoped to see something of the Hellboy character reflected in his creator. Instead I just found a dull ordinary man that was tired and flustered by his situation—it was clear he just wanted a sandwich. When I make it to the big time I will make it a definite point to remain as aloof and distant to my fans as possible—this means all of my public appearances will have pedestals and podiums and lots bright lights and ropes—a hero should never appear human.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Generation OCD

We were chatting in the studio the other day about fun little games we play with our children, nieces, nephews etc. and I mentioned how a few weeks back I was walking from the parking lot into a building with my two and a half year old daughter warning her not to step on any cracks in the road or sidewalks. My intentions were to teach her a fun new game to make walking down boring streets a little more interesting, but a few days later I noticed she was a bit stressed and hesitant to walk on a particular sidewalk in our neighborhood that has lots of cracks in it. It occured to me that this is exactly how OCD adults are created. Some well-meaning adult introduced a "game" to a child that continues to haunt them throughout their life. I guess I'll hold off on the new game I wanted to teach her called "Every handshake, doorknob, shopping cart, or public restroom you touch a kitten dies."

Monday, July 21, 2008

stills & details




These are some stills and details from the opening scene of the first episode of Children Kids—“Happy Sad Mad Happy Full.”

Friday, July 18, 2008

Versus

A long running debate exists between myself and my scholarly friends. An argument that can only exist in the innermost circles of the wisest folk in the halls of academia. A query that may appear so simple to answer when first heard, but upon deliberation can easily turn the mind into pudding. Delicious banana pudding.

Q: Who would win in a fight; Polar Bear with chainsaw arms or Elephant with razor blade trunk?

I know, right? Your mind is blown. But before you start your own inner-war, take in to consideration the following:

The polar bear can tap out at 10 ft. tall and 1500 el bees. They are very agile, have extraordinarily strong necks, and the power of deception in that the elephant might want to hug him because of the cuteness factor. Make no mistake, if the elephant goes in for a bear hug or a goochie goo, all the local polar bears will be enjoying elephant burgers for weeks to come.

The elephant is the wild card to me. A herbivore, so right away I'm thinking sorta thespian, but they can reach 11 ft tall and up to 12,000 lbs. Their tusks can grow to nearly 10 ft. long and mercy to you if you get between it, and it's Express for Men sunglasses. Weaknesses would be a soft underbelly that the bear could easily climb beneath and hack away at, and his cumbersome movement, thus limiting his range with the razor blade trunk. Strengths are pure size advantage, and large amounts of flesh to cut through before you hit anything vital. Not to mention, if he gets a hold of a black feather, it's like heroin for an elephant, they become delusional and think they can fly. Nothing more dangerous than an elephant willing to throw it's body around so haphazardly.

Contest rules: Each animal will be wearing a suit that simulates the temperature of it's natural environment, and they will be fighting in an iron cage, with cement floors, so no one animal is used to the habitat. No referee, no throwing in the towel. Unlimited 5 minute rounds until there is a victor, no outside help from another animal holding a folding chair. To keep the animals motivated the audience will be nothing but crying kindergartners. Prizes include the winner of the match getting a shopping cart, and five minutes to hand pick as many of the kindergartners as possible, to eat, or stage a production of Little Shop of Horrors, whichever they prefer. If the winner handpicks the child sitting on the hidden star chair, the animal will get a round trip ticket to visit the spouse of the loser to deliver the remains of said loser and dance on them in front of said spouse.

Let the debate begin.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Coaching Bastian



Here is a fun little clip of the torture we put our voice talent through to get what we think we want from them. You notice that I had already got the performance I liked from poor Bastian (voice of Zak) but just in case, we made him continue for another hour or so. He is quite the trooper.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

We do What We do What We do

It's no secret that we have stayed mum on our story lines, however, there is rhyme to our reason. Our hope is to get people excited about the project by showcasing the nostalgic art, whimsical animation, and playfully hip music, without blowing the plots of the stories. So, how do you as a blog-hopper know that we are the right fit for you? It's a legitimate concern that demands serious answers, so we contacted MIT to design a short questionnaire that will help you decide if Children Kids is right for you. When they stopped answering my phone calls and got the restraining order (they totally went weird on us), we decided to contract the job out to the soiled homeless man that lives under my stairs. His payment, a half eaten eclair, and a broken lighter. Here is what he came up with.

the children kids and you quiz number 1a

1. Do you enjoy breathing or not enjoy breathing?
2. Do you have at least one of the five senses?
3. Would you agree that bad things are bad for stuff?
4. How tall would you say that is? I think I'm bleeding.
5. She's fat.
6. Question?
7. Is having fun better than having cancer?
8. True or False, Maybe or What?
9. Would you punch a polar bear if you knew he couldn't fight back?
10. Would you hug that same polar bear and buy him some shaved ice as an apology for the cheap shot, only to knock it out of his hand and hit him again? (he can't fight back, remember? you could do this all day long)

Here is how we score this. If you're alive and still reading this, then this cartoon is meant specifically for you, own it, kiss it, love it. We've spent months crafting these fables just for you, tailored for your personal enjoyment, designed to make your hearts and minds sing love songs to one another. It has been no easy task that we have taken on, and we are working like beavers on crack to finish it for you as speedily as possible. Alas, we will not skimp on the quality, for it is our goal to blow all of the un-blown parts of your mind, put the pieces together, and re-blow them again. We're grateful for your patience, and please stay tuned for the final delivery. It'll be worth it.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

hello


This is our Zak.
You may not have recognized him at first. He's in disguise. WPP or something, I think.
You can see a few more pics of him here.
And you can stay tuned for a plushie tutorial for your very own Zak, and other children kids friends like him.
Soon.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Silly ol’ Bear…

now i like Winnie the Pooh as much as about anyone I know. When I was a freshman at the-place-which-must-not-be-named, I used to plan my class schedule around Pooh Bear, a smoothie, and some hot ramen.
But the stuff that Disney has done to him recently is simply atrocious. First, the super shiny-happy-people style that looks like it belongs on a box of overpriced cereal. And second, that fake 3D, sterile, "happy" environment that they've put him in on Playhouse Disney (sometimes I catch a terrifying glimpse while looking for Charlie and Lola—be patient with that link, it's worth it).
The old school stuff, though—the genius of A.A. Milne & E.H. Shepherd, as well as the following Disney Classics—is the stuff to live a life from. And I think for a while I would have taken the Biblical stance of condemnation for adding to the Word when it comes to Pooh until I saw this.

woah! holy cow hold the phone~~! wow! Who’d have known the Russians had that in them? That! is amazing. and that is definitely not Disney… I'll sit mesmerized for 9+ minutes just watching (cuz I certainly am not enjoying the nuances of the dialogue) the beautiful illustration and coloring—not to mention those killer opening titles.
And take note of the energy in Piglet and Pooh Bear's step. Impressive… wonder what they did to Eeyore.

Oh, but if you're—y'know, just going off on a limb here—curious what they did to Pinocchio. Now there, I can help you out!
A couple years ago Brian Collins—of Ogilvy BIG and the Hershey's store in Times Square fame—visited my design program and brought with him an original print of this:

not bad, eh?

Sunday, July 13, 2008

coming relatively soon...

video
frogs, birds and a whole lot of love- this is children kids.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Of Bat People

We are peaceful folk. All we wish is to have a space in which to create our cartoon, free from distractions, and chaos. A place to call our own even though it may not be, and a freezer full of otter pops. We have been blessed, and have lived for many months off of the good-natured spirit of Amanda Knight in her namesake building, and she has come through for us many times granting us help when we ask for it. In the past we needed a piece of wood to prop up a dilapidated shelf and she provided us with a board already cut to the exact measurement. We found ourselves lacking a recording studio, and she gave us an old meat freezer that is void of echo, perfect for recording sessions. There are couches for naps, and an old rug to cover up our business when nature calls. So what could upset the harmony we have enjoyed with the ghost of Amanda Knight? Enter The Bat People.

For those of you who don't know about these horrible creatures, let me explain. Simply put, Bat People are jerks. There must be a more eloquent way to explain our distaste for the mischief-makers from above, but when emotions are involved it is hard to keep a level head. They have been our tormentors, and at times, our bully's. Close your eyes, and imagine how much you hate red-heads. Good, now imagine if those red-heads lived in the attic above you, unplugging your extension chords while listening to Klaus Nomi and Yanni. Yeah, I know, that's why we hate them. If ever we run into a snag it's because of the Bat People. When we stub our toes, it's Bat People. When our hot-n-ready pizzas go cold it's Bat People. And there is strong evidence suggesting that on our creatively unproductive days, it's due to their sonar laughs permeating our minds, turning our thoughts into pudding as they watch Mind of Mencia above us. They also have no taste in humor.

We have stretched forth the hand of Friendship (Friendship was the name of a Leper that used to hang with us) and left it at the base of their dwelling, but they wouldn't eat it. They're apparently food snobs too. We have tried the diplomatic route by fire-bombing their home but all they do is swear vengeance. So, we have decided to live best as we can, top-by-bottom, with our new neighbors, doing the best that we can to ignore them, but always steady and ready for a brawl with the winged-wankers from above.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Attention Deficit something or other

We did nothing today. We started doing something and sidetracked ourselves on a completely separate nothing. That nothing took us to somewhere else that didn't give us anything. We took all of the anything that we didn't get done and started talking about it which made us tired so we had some otter pops. We decided it was time to get back to doing something so we began by sitting around staring at nothing. Then someone said "say anything" but nobody said nothing so we all knew we were going nowhere today.....and ate some more otter pops.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Did you know Crayola is Spanish for Crayon?*


*I learned that from my neice’s “My First Spanish Word Board Book” when I was on vacation with her a couple weeks ago. It made me wonder, though: which came first? The brand? Or the word?
oh, and ps: has anyone seen that super-cool 3D street chalk? check it.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Foul Mouthed Angels

Last night I had a dream that I was part of a host of angels sent from heaven to battle Satan's minions on the roof of the city library. The angels kept calling their weapons "filthy cleans", and I know this because one of the commanding angles kept yelling "Re-load your filthy-cleans". I still haven't worked the science out, but somehow, when the angles let loose their tongues with angelic swears, the demons would become offended and retreat back to the safety of hell. As I watched the battle of words unfold, I remember really enjoying all of the heavenly cuss words raining down upon the battlefield thinking that I should remember them and write them into Children Kids scripts. Alas, it is morning, and the celestial swears have been hidden away somewhere secret in my memory. I think, perhaps, the doings of sneaky angels with foul mouths not wanting me to tell on them during my morning prayers.

My plea is two part. First, to the angels whom I heard spewing foul cusseries. If any are reading, I promise not to tell the Big Man of the tactics used against the small man's army on condition that I'm reminded of the hilarious swear words used during the battle on the roof top. Second, to any other readers of this post, I would like to hear any versions of angel cussing you might have. Added bonus if you have actually heard an angel swear.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Rude Dude's Final Reading



I thought it might be an interesting post to try and capture the minutes of our narrators final recording, so here it goes.

Cast
Devon (director/writer, narrators son)
Rudy (narrator/father to Devon)
Micah (sound champion and nephew to narrator)
Cole (quietly working artist)
Berk (life bringer to the still)
Joseph (bad concept man)

It begins.......

Rudy enters the recording studio.

Devon: OK Rudy, let's do this thing.
Rudy: It's hotter than a mother bear in here.
Devon: Yeah, sorry about that, we'll get some water in there for you soon.

Time lapse 23 minutes, Rudy has said "And took a nap in his Jack crafted shack" over 40 times.

Rudy: How about that water?
Devon: How about you say your lines right?
Cole: I can run him in some ice water, it's no problem.
Devon: Quiet Cole. Say the line Rudy.
Rudy: "And he took a nap in his Jack crafted shack" how was that?
Devon: How's your face more like? (Devon high five's Micah)
Rudy: what does that even......
Cole: I'm kinda at a standstill for work here, I'll just run and grab him some water real fast.
Devon: Cole no, he needs to learn, say it again Rudy.
Rudy: I don't dang mind saying the lines over and over kid-o, I'm just sorta feeling faint in here.
Devon: Oh really? (Devon mimes a crying baby to the rest of the crew, Micah high fives him)

time lapse 13 minutes, Cole has left the studio in disgust, Rudy is still reading the same line

Rudy: What was wrong with that one?
Devon: The same thing that was wrong with the rest of them...you suck.
Micah: Yup.
Berk: (whispering to Joseph) You ever heard anyone talk to their dad like that?
Joseph: (whispering back to Cole) Yeah man, I grew up with these guys, I heard it all the time.
Berk: (Still in a whisper to Joseph) I'm gonna sneak him an otter pop. (regular speaking voice now) Well, I must now go to the bathroom. See you all in a few moments from now. (Berk Exits room)

Time lapse 3 minutes

Rudy: "And took a nap in his Jack crafted shack" ...........( slight noise picked up on mic, and some soft whispers are heard.
Devon: Is someone in there with you? (Devon walks briskly from the room)
Micah: Get him Devon.

Time lapse 7 minutes, Devon enters the room sweaty and nursing a hand injury

Joseph: Where's Berk?
Devon: He moved. Say the lines Rudy.
Rudy: (No response)
Devon: (speaking loudly now) Say the lines Rudy!
Rudy: (No response)
Devon: Micah, go make sure he hasn't escaped.
Micah: Done and done.

Time lapse 20 seconds, Microphone picks noise up from recording studio as Micah enters

Micah: Uh....Devon, there was a lot of blood in the kitchen, any idea where it......
Devon: I'm thawing a steak, is Rudy still in there?
Micah: Yeah, he's still here...
Devon: What's he doing?
Micah: Umm....laying down.
Devon: Sleeping?
Micah: mmmm......maybe.
Devon: Get him on his feet.
Joseph: Maybe we should call it a day?
Devon: Rubbish, what have you been doing anyways?
Joseph: Blogging.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Shout out to Zak the Plushie.

Zak can't help but be recognized in the crafters' world, being made of all that thread, denim and polyfil. He made it in to a great sewing blog's "Create and Celebrate" post a couple days ago. Check out the last featured item in the post. Save the best for last, right?

We're so proud.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Merci. Gràsce. M goi. Gracias. THANK YOU!

We had more than twenty people to our little open house last night and we couldn't be happier. It was so great to meet everyone after emailing and g-chatting for about a week. There's just something about reality that virtuality can't compete with.

Google is telling me that I just made up that word, virtuality. Whatever Google.

I'll post more about the night after I collect more pictures. For now, this is all I have. As you can see, we had such a hard core kick off that I got a battle wound. (Carrying a pin cushion around in your back pack can be dangerous.) You can also see Cole's chiseled calves.


So THANK YOU everyone who came out for whatever reason. We're glad you found us.

Meet the Children Kids Team! (Part Two)


photo by Leo Patrone

The Writers

Devon Anderson
Devon has been fascinated by the power of well crafted words from a very young age. Due to his delicate frame and his inability to correctly pronounce the letter "R", he had no choice but to develop the ability to use wit and humor to survive the tough streets of Salem, UT. To his delight, not only could the fury of ginger bullies be assuaged with this new found aptitude, he soon discovered that they could be easily persuaded to do his bidding on the school yard. Before he reached the age of accountability, Devon had formed one of the largest racketeering organizations in the history of Salem Elementary moving massive numbers of counterfeited Trapper Keepers and Teddy Ruxpins to unwitting classmates. Though business was booming, one fateful day, Devon was promised by a magical porpoise that if he would write funny stories to entertain and delight rather than use his talents for exploitation, he would be granted the ability to pronounce the most beautiful "R" ever heard by human ears. He agreed. The porpoise waved his dorsal fin and Devon was able to say his first "R" heretofore in his young life. It was glorious.

More than 20 years later, after unabashedly enjoying the use of his "R" for decades, the time had arrived to make the porpoise proud. One August night, bred of insomnia and an overindulgence of Tex Avery cartoons, the first Children Kids story was penned. Soon after, Devon was joined by a dream team of creative dynamos, each wielding a unique power enabling them to impel Children Kids through to fruition and fulfill its ultimate destiny to end all pain and suffering in the world. From all of us at Squatter Studios, you're welcome.